Homerun Nievera, Negosentro | In this super updated version of the Pinoy Tech Billionaire profile of Engr. Diosdado “Dado” Banatao,” there are insights I am including as per my personal meeting with the super guy. But first off, let me swing you by his short bio partly based on research and partly from my personal encounter with him.
I am also including some videos culled from Youtube to make it more engaging for those who’d rather watch than read.
So, let’s go –
Dado Banatao was born to a poor family on May 26, 1946 in Malabbac, Iguig, Cagayan Valley, in the Philippines. His father, Salvador Banatao, was a rice farmer, while his mother, Rosita Banatao, was a housekeeper.
As a kid, he used to help till the land with his father and walked literally barefoot on a dusty unpaved road to go to Malabbac Elementary School. His secondary education was spent in the a Jesuit-run school, Ateneo de Tuguegarao, where he said, he received all the foundations he needed to succeed. These included the need for research (no one was there to teach him stuff), perseverance and fortitude. He then pursued his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the Mapúa Institute of Technology in Manila and graduated cum laude.
After college, when jobs were hard to come by, a job posted on the newspaper’s classifieds piqued his curiosity. It was a job post for Trainee Pilots at Philippine Airlines. He applied there while reportedly turning down some offers (like from Meralco), and got the job. He eventually took an engineering job at Boeing in the US and took his he then took his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University. During his years at Stanford, he joined the Homebrew Computer Club, where he met Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Banatao established three startups in the early 1980’s, one of which was sold to Intel for $700 million. All of his early startups involved chipsets and graphic accelerators which rivaled (and beat) previously established brands. His products were bought by IBM and Intel which established him as the First Filipino techpreneur in Silicon Valley. By 2000, he established Tallwood Venture Capital — a VC firm — with a $300 million capitalization primarily from his own trove. This firm was established to keep him and his other ventures at the forefront of technologies by investing in companies that have high engineering capabilities.
Back in the Philippines
Banatao never forgot his family and his roots. Helping his family rise from the hard farm life, he also came back to help his elementary school by building a computer center — making it the only public school with the most modern computer network in the Philippines.
By now a family man himself, he knew that by creating opportunities in education and local startups, more Filipino families will have better lives.
Through his Dado Banatao Educational Foundation, he annually gives out five educational scholarships to intelligent Filipino students who have bright futures in the field of engineering and technology. With the Philippine Development Foundation (or PhilDev) which he chairs, he is helping send brilliant young Filipinos to school to help them reach their full potential. In the US, his Banatao Filipino American Fund assists Northern California high school students of Filipino heritage who are pursuing a college education in engineering.
Recently, Banatao inaugurated an incubation program with the Asian Institute of Management. His first company to incubate is FAME, Inc. (Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprises, Inc.) — which has created a so called Blackbox in the Cloud. The company, with Banatao’s guidance, is spearheading the growth of IoT in the Philippines especially in the maritime, transport and data transaction industries. FAME was a finalist in the 2018 Mobile World Congress in two categories (one in the LoRa challenge).
Where to in the Coming Years
Engr. Banatao, now in his senior years, is still active in the tech industry. He sees himself to be at the forefront of mentoring, coaching and incubating Filipino-led tech and engineering companies that will make the Philippines a tech super power in the future. With Banatao’s guidance, the future indeed looks bright.
Homerun Nievera is the publisher of Negosentro.com and WorldExecutivesDigest.com. He has interests in several tech and digital businesses as director and chief strategist.
Videos to Watch on Engr. Dado Banatao
From Cagayan Valley to Silicon Valley : ‘Filipino Bill Gates’ Dado Banatao
“My story could be your story. As Filipinos, it must be our story.”
The Story of Dado Banatao
“When you have enough, you have to give back”